A conversation with Christian Sarron is always instructive, if never brief. the Ex-250 world champions and 500 GP rider made several interesting observations on Marc Marquez's style and why he thinks the young man had a few more problems than usual at Mugello and will continue to have them at Catalunya. The key to understanding, says Christian, is Marc's tactic of using the inside curbs. That's using them as in running right up them with the front end tucking and the rear spinning. At Mugello, says Christian, there was little to be gained, conventional lines were just as good. In Barcelona, the curbs are too high.
Marquez agrees. There isn't enough room for "knee,shoulder, and everything." So like Mugello, this is a track where Marc doesn't necessarily expect to win and is prepared to settle for a rostrum. What about the unbeaten run ending? "It would not be a disaster," he said. Which is more or less what he said two weeks ago...
Jorge Lorenzo made an interesting remark about his new-found competitivity in Mugello, referring to a 'clutchless downshift' which he'd been asking Yamaha for a couple of years. It is known that the seamless box that arrived last year only functioned on up shifts. It sounds like it now works in both directions. However, Jorge intimated that Valentino Rossi's team had come to terms with it much quicker than his had. Managing the torque spikes on downward changes is the clever bit and requires some sophisticated electronics. When F1 cars first got the technology they occasionally got this bit wrong, resulting in snapped halfshafts.
The first day of a hot, sticky weekend saw the open and satellite bikes of Espargaro and Smith quickest in the morning and afternoon sessions, respectively. Stefan Bradl was also very quick, especially this afternoon. As usual, the factory boys will get going tomorrow, and they'll need to on a track where closing any sort of gap between groups in notoriously difficult. But it might not matter, it's going to rain hard at some point in proceedings, we're not just sure exactly when.